Thiruvananthapuram: It looks like the LDF government was not prepared for the splendid success (99.47%) achieved by SSLC students this year.
The difference between the number of students who had passed and the number of available higher secondary plus one seats has widened like never before. There is also an explosion of students who had scored a full A plus.
If in 2020 the number of full A plus candidates was 41,906, this time it has nearly trebled to 1.12 lakh. The concern is whether even these A plus winners will be able to opt for the subject of her choice in at least her own taluk.
General Education Minister V Sivankutty, while responding to an adjournment motion on the plus one admission preparedness of the government in the Assembly on Tuesday, said that the shortage would be made up through a marginal increase in seats; 20 percent in the case of schools in Malabar districts where the deficiency is severe and 10 percent in schools of others.
Muslim League MLA Dr M K Muneer, moving the adjournment motion, said the marginal increase in seats was not a solution. "The High Court had specifically said that there should not be more than 50 students in a class, especially when there is a shortage of space in our classrooms," Dr Muneer said.
Opposition Leader V D Satheesan said the marginal increase strategy was impractical. "Not only would the classrooms be crowded but it would also be hard to train children in other academic spaces like labs," Satheesan said. Further, he said the move could even be questioned in Court.
"Last year, if the High Court had allowed the marginal increase in seats it was only because of COVID and it would have been difficult for the government to put other measures in place. But the Court had directed the government to take appropriate action before the commencement of the next academic year, which the government has evidently not done," Satheesan said.
Muneer, therefore, said the only solution was to create more batches. "No new batches had been created in the last five academic years," Muneer said. Satheesan said that taluks, where such shortage was severe, should be first identified and new batches granted.
There was also a huge mismatch in the numbers trotted out by the minister and the Opposition. Sivankutty said there was a shortage of 11,090 seats in aided and government schools in the coming academic year. Once the marginal increase is effected, he said the shortage would shrink to 2700.
However, Muneer said Malappuram alone had a shortage of approximately 30,000 seats. The shortage or the difference between the number of students who had cleared SSLC and the higher secondary seats available in other districts, according to Muneer: Thrissur - 830, Palakkad - 957, Kozhikode - 10,000, Wayanad - 3000, Kannur - 5000, Kasaragod – 5000.
Though he contested the figures, Sivankutty said that concerns would be addressed after the first and second allotment. He also spoke of a rearrangement of seats, which possibly means excess seats in certain subjects in certain districts could be transferred to districts suffering a shortage.
The Opposition said that an arrangement should be evolved in which a student would be able to carry on her higher studies from her native area. "You should not expect a child in Malabar to leave her family and study in Thiruvananthapuram," Muneer said.